House Ed panel backs $15.9M for Idaho teacher pay

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The House Education Committee backed a proposal that would direct nearly $16 million toward teacher leadership awards, a first step toward revamping pay for the state's educators as recommended by a recently convened task force.

Monday's vote sends the bill to the House floor for consideration.

Last year, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter called together a task force to make recommendations on how to improve Idaho's schools - and reach a goal of getting more of the state's high school graduates to complete college or technical-school training.

One of the panel's proposals: Allow Idaho school districts to pay merit-based leadership awards, to encourage teachers to take on more responsibility.

Outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna hailed Monday's vote as an "important first step" in improving compensation for Idaho's teachers.